Commuters warned of May misery with replacement buses ready to roll


Premier Daniel Andrews says the pain will be worthwhile in the long-term with the Metro Tunnel, when completed in six years, creating room for 72,000 more peak hour passengers each week and saving Sandringham line passengers up to 20 minutes a day.

Major disruptions are also on the way in other parts of the city with a section of La Trobe Street, between Swanston Street and Elizabeth Street, shut for a month from May 20 as the digging of an underground connection from Melbourne Central to the new State Library Station gets underway.

Swan Street in Richmond will be closed to all traffic between Punt Road and Cremorne Street from May 19 to May 24 to build an accessible tram stop and there will be an overnight closure of Punt Road at the Swan Street intersection on Monday 20 May.

Level crossing removal work on the Frankston line will stop trains running between Frankston and Mordialloc from May 24 until May 26 with buses replacing those rail services.

Nicholson Street in East Brunswick will be closed to trams and cars for a week between May 11 and May 18 while three accessible tram stops are built.

Mr Andrews was at the City Square Metro station building site at Federation Square on Tuesday morning to talk up the long-term benefits to commuters of the giant transport build.

Passengers wait for replacement buses at Caulfield station this month.

Passengers wait for replacement buses at Caulfield station this month. Credit:Simon Schluter

“The new Town Hall Station will connect people to Flinders Street, Federation Square and the rest of the network through the Metro Tunnel, slashing travel times and creating space for more passengers,» the Premier said.

“This is the biggest public transport ever built in Victoria, and it will benefit Victorians every single day – getting them to work quicker and home sooner.”

Commuters faced long queues and traffic delays when the Cranbourne, Pakenham, Frankston, Mernda and Gippsland lines closed during the Easter school holidays for a Metro Tunnel construction blitz.

Thousands of commuters had to wait up to 45 minutes for a bus to take them from Caulfield train station into the CBD over two weeks.

Public Transport Users Association’s spokesman Daniel Bowen has said replacement buses need to keep pace with the flow of passengers during peak hour, particularly after 8am.

He has also said buses must receive priority on the roads during major shutdowns, and should also transfer commuters to other train lines still in operation, so people were not forced to sit in traffic.

VicRoads has previously said that creating dedicated bus lanes would result in buses sitting in long queues leading up to these lanes.

Noel Towell is State Political Editor for The Age

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